ASUU strike: Effects on students
ON FEBRUARY 14, 2022, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) declared a four-week warning strike having waited to no avail for the federal government to act. No sooner had the four weeks elapsed than it extended it for another eight weeks, apparently to enable both parties to have enough time to work on the dispute. But then, On Sunday, May 8, 2022, the National Executive Council (NEC) of ASUU held an emergency meeting after which the Union extended its three months old strike by another 12 weeks (3 months).
To Mr Ignatius Osondu, a lecturer in one of the nation’s private universities, “The rate of any nation’s development is measured by the level of education of its citizens; therefore, it is expected that government must make it a priority. But then, I am thinking that the ongoing industrial action is the only option left toward forcing the government to fulfill its pledges. The union had exhausted all other options before deciding to use the strike action.
The impact of strikes can be understood better when it is realised that some students, who ought to graduate and proceed for their NYSC, are usually delayed, beyond their planned year of graduation and some exceed the 30-year ceiling for the national youth service. Also, by extension, some of them also exceed certain age limits for employment, especially in the private sector.
A student of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Miss Rose Ikedi, said “the frequent strikes had caused me so much pain. I lost a session due to last year’s strike and had almost given up on education. I’m supposed to be in my 400-level but I am still in 300-level. And now when we think that the end is in sight, we are getting the news that the strike may still last for another three months if nothing is done. Indeed, nothing can be more frustrating”.
A parent, Mr Godwin Ikemefuna described strike as evil wind that blows no one any good, adding that students, parents and guardians bear the brunt of ASUU strikes. He said “I am worried that when ASUU would settle its differences with the federal government, students, along with parents and guardians would be left to lick their wounds. Students will end up paying house rents for another session because strike has consumed their previous rent.
ASUU should therefore devise better ways to fight for its rights while the federal government should also learn to honour agreements in the overall interest of the innocent students”.
“They say that when two elephants fight, the grass becomes the victims; the students in this case, are the victims. So, we are appealing to both the ASUU and the federal government to return to the negotiation table and find a common ground for the sake of future generations. The matter is beyond the federal government and ASUU, everyone must put hands on deck towards resolving the issues as the consequences can affect the unity, peace and security of the nation”.